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Original Work The Valley of Death

Discussion in 'Survival Reading Room' started by DKR, Aug 3, 2019.


  1. DKR

    DKR Interesting ideas, interesting stories

    Prologue


    The battle bridge of the INS Fastidious was a quiet and orderly place. Just as things should, being this close to the start of a major operation. Since it was his Flag command center, the General ensured it stayed that way. He sighed quietly. The Ark Royal had become a damn zoo. Full of Court appointees and Naval officers busy kissing each other's collective ass, it was no place he wanted to be right now, with so much on his plate.

    Moving his Flag only made sense. As he'd explained to the dolt running the Ark Royal, that by moving his Flag, the Navy's options would then be 'unlimited'. Before him were rows of battle managers, their holo-screens flashing the status and location of the embarking troops. Other than the odd murmur, the center exuded the kind of competence he demanded.

    The landing plan for his troops was tenuous, at best, given that so little data had been available when tasked. An initial recon in force would have to provide any missing data. The rumors that aliens were in the area didn't help matters. The aliens were most likely variform mutated livestock. What records he did have indicated this rock had first been settled by Second or possibly Third wave humanity. That was long enough ago that nothing could be ruled out, even mutated livestock.

    Another of his frustrations, having to deal with this large a force. One made of almost all green troops, with few experienced officers and NCOs to the lead the rabble. While it was part of his job description as the Commander, it was also the ulcer making part. The upcoming operation might be nothing more than a waste of time, but at least he could get some training value for his troops out of this effort. Looking over the monitors in front of him, he was pleased to see the loading of the mass Landing Ship, Assault, seemed to be going without a hitch. No hitches were always a good thing. As long as that situation might last.

    It was no accident that the Ark Royal was at his forward horizon. The last thing he could afford was some cockup by the idiots in Command of that capital ship impacting his Space-to-Ground operation. He touched a stud on his Command panel before asking, "Status of the Ark Royal?"

    The answer was swift - his people were not fools. "Sir. They just stowed the shuttle lofted last cycle. Seems the science away party has already returned." After a short pause, the Rate offered, "Party must be over already."

    As much as he wanted to laugh, the situation was too important to allow any humor, at least, right now. "Understood. Has the entire away party returned?" The last thing he could afford was some perfumed idiot from the Merchant Guild wandering into an active AO.

    The Rate took the hint. "Sorry, Sir. 22 souls plus crew, in and out. All tally boards match. It was an all Merchant Guild crew – they know their stuff. Sir."

    "Very well. Perform one more sensor sweep. If the area is clear, start dropping the LSAs. Report on first landing."

    "Aye. If area is clear, will begin the LSA drop."

    For several hours, it was as boring as an exercise could be. The LSAs off-loaded the troops, boosting back to orbit for the next wave. When the third wave had launched, the Action light on the General's console illuminated. Pressing the stud, he listened in, expecting to hear of a lost trooper or of someone with a broken leg.

    The headphone said something else entirely. Over the sound of steady, aimed, fire he heard "CONTACT. I say again, we have contact. Got to be aliens or some damn thing. I have two men down. Down hard. Need medics."

    More studs illuminated. The General set the controls to listen to the highest priority calls first. What came next was the stuff of nightmares.

    "Contact. Multiple bogies." The sound in the background quickly became a crackle as more and more weapons went fully cyclic. "Send medics. Send reinforcements, we are being overrun by these damn thin…" The speaker had stopped talking and now the crash of grenades added to the din. The unmistakable thunderclaps of pluser firing started, overwhelming the circuit.

    The next voice was that of the platoon leader, "All hands. Contact. A mass of…Send up more pluser squads, send more medics. I'm calling for a fallback…" This announcement was punctuated by the chuff-chuff-chuffing of an automatic grenade launcher running fully cyclic.

    By now, every stud on the Command board had illuminated, with more than a few pulsing, some even showing red. The General could only start to ask "What in the hell…" when the Ark Royal turned into a glowing sunrise in front of his ship….

    The start to Roll Call - Valley of Death
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019
  2. DKR

    DKR Interesting ideas, interesting stories

    An excerpt for your comments


    "I am Abbot, this is my brother, Cee. We are from the Clan Hersh. What Clan do you come from?"

    Dominic had to give that some thought. Clan affiliation was bound to be a big deal socially, it usually was with primitives. Or at least his past studies had assured him this was fact. He settled for "I'm a human being. We are a really big Clan, we're pretty much all over these days." He was using Archaic Standard, almost without thought. He'd used the language form so often on past field studies, it was damn near automatic. Which raised some new questions as well.

    "Anyone else around? I'd like to meet everyone now, before I get back to work. If you don't mind that is..." Dominic didn't smile or make any facial gesture that could be misinterpreted. This was old ground for him, this meeting of Primitive humans.

    Abbot pointed, "Our brother Timken is there. But you cannot speak to him. He is now in the land of the Elders of the Before"

    Dominic followed the pointing finger, and to his horror, it pointed to the docking hatch. Walking up to the mass of metal and composite, he was shocked again. A pair of feet was sticking out from under the hatch assembly. Bare feet now covered in blood.

    Given that the contraption massed out at nearly 200 kilos, it was obvious that Timken was indeed, not with them. "Crap, I've just killed their brother and yet..." he thought. Turning to look at the pair, he saw them still sitting on the ground, seemingly unfazed.

    "About your brother, I'm..."

    Cee held up his hand, "Do not be mindful. Timken tempted the god of Stupidity once too often, and got killed for it." He shrugged, "The god of Stupidity kills many, which is why we know of this god."

    Dominic had to sit down. "God of Stupidity?"

    Abbot laughed, "You do not know this god?" He slapped his head, "Of course not. We saw you birthed, and watched again as you shed your skin, not once but twice. Someone so new would have some things that are unknown, even to a god. I must ask, with respect.... Are you one of the Lesser Included gods?"

    Now Dominic's head was really starting to hurt. "Lesser Included gods?"

    Abbot's reply was almost sorrowful, "There are so many, only the Chief knows or acts like she knows of the many Lesser Included ones. I might guess, owing to seeing you born, not of woman. Then in ways I cannot explain, and in front of my eyes, changing your form not once, but twice to look nearly as we do. I am amazed and we both witnessed this transformation." The living brother was nodding his head, agreeing to everything.

    "How in the fuck am I going to handle this? The textbooks never covered being born as a god in front of witnesses," he thought. "Damn! Just my luck, no external recorder going. This would be a classic and take a full semester or more to cover, but without images, it didn't happen."

    So instead of asking a ton of questions and bringing his new status as a god into question, he'd play along. For now anyway. Dominic chose to say, "Tell you gents what. With me being new to your neighborhood and all. Why don't you just explain all about these gods and we can go from there? After all, how often do you get to instruct someone as...unique as me?" He crossed his mental fingers and waited to see how this gambit would play.

    "Where would we start, exalted one?"

    "Start by calling me Professor Mors and work your way up from Stupidity... I have to think that would be a lower god, or at least a very busy one, all things considered."

    "As you wish, Professor Mors. You are correct, of course. The god of Stupidity is the least of the Five Tangible Gods. Next would be the two faced god of Luck..." Here the brothers paused to clap their hands, once palm to palm, then back to back. "Next would be the gods of the Earth or soil, then Water and finally the most powerful of the Tangible Gods - Wind."

    Dominic shook his head. "Interesting. In my old neighborhood, things were a tad different. Earth, wind and water shared equal billing with fire and ice."

    "Professor Mors. If you would explain. Please, we have no wish to remain ignorant. What is ice?"

    It went downhill from there.

    ***
    The ability of the locals speaking an understandable language is explained elsewhere.

    Just wondering if the vibe of "human" but really not the protagonist's kind of human made it through using this section as an example...
     
  3. john316

    john316 Monkey+++

    Since it was his Flag commend center, the General e…………...command ?

    f his job description as 5the Commander……………….5th ?

    Just wondering if the vibe of "human" but really not the protagonist's kind of human made it through using this section as an example... YES

    SOUNDS VERY GOOD…….show us some more, PLEASE.
     
    Dont likes this.
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